It’s rare that any basketball program have much of a worse day than the Dickson Middle School squads had on Monday in Clarksville. The 6-seed DMS boys had a 13-6 lead on 3-seed Northeast in the second quarter, but got blitzed in the second and third quarters en route to a 43-30 loss that ended the season for the Dragons. Also on Monday, word began to circulate that the one-loss Lady Dragons were disqualified from the postseason due to a scheduling technicality, ending their chance at back to back state titles.
The Dragons got out to a red hot start as four of their five starters scored, led by Jay Lewis’ 5 points, as Dickson opened up a 12-6 lead after one quarter of play. Unfortunately for DMS, three of those four players would not score again in the contest, as Northeast clawed back in the second. With this being an elimination playoff game, the officials let the game be a physical one, and the beat-and-bang style suited the bigger Eagles far more than the quicker Dragons. Northeast retook the lead off a 19-8 second quarter, going to the locker room up 25-20. All 25 points for Northeast in the first half came from just two players, while Dickson’s 20 were spread among all five starters. Braxton Robertson, the lone Dragon starter who didn’t score in the first, poured in six of the Dragons’ eight points in the second quarter.
Dickson needed to come out strong in the third quarter, but Northeast would have none of it, as they put the game away with a 14-2 third quarter. Robertson had the Dragons’ only bucket, on a putback of a missed DMS shot. Up 39-22 after the third quarter, the Eagle reserves played much of the final frame, and a combination of DMS starters and reserves eaked out an 8-4 advantage in the final frame to make the final margin 43-30 Northeast. Robertson would earn MVP honors for Dickson in the loss–not only for his team-high 8 points, but also because he scored 8 of his team’s 10 points in the second and third combined, a time when they were outscored 33-10 as it was. Lewis and Demontez Coleman would finish with 5 points each in the loss, as the Dragons’ season ended with a thud.
The bad news was not over for the Maroon and White, as the story gradually trickled out that the Lady Dragons had been disqualified. While the story is still fully coming together, it appears that someone alerted the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association (TMSAA) that Dickson had played too many regular season games, and that they needed to investigate. It seems that somehow a rule was misinterpreted about how many games a holiday tournament counts towards your regular season tournament, and the Charger Invitational that the DMS girls played in over the holidays somehow put them over the limit. It seems the official ruling was passed down Sunday that the season was over for the Dickson Middle School Lady Dragons, but the news was slow to get out.
Despite a 46-7 win in the opening round of the conference tournament, the Dickson Middle School Lady Dragons will not have a chance to repeat as conference champions. Despite losing only one game in the last two seasons combined, and not losing since the state tournament in 2011, the Lady Dragons will not get to defend their state title. And in a bit of dark irony, the state-tournament caliber competition that Coach Barry Downs led his Lady Dragons against in the Murfreesboro tournament to improve them as a squad not only hand Dickson its only loss in that stretch, they ultimately end the season for DMS in the most surprising way possible–two whole months of unbeaten basketball later.